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AIMS: The aim of this trial was to assess the cost-effectiveness of a soft bandage and immediate discharge, compared with rigid immobilization, in children aged four to 15 years with a torus fracture of the distal radius. METHODS: A within-trial economic evaluation was conducted from the UK NHS and personal social services (PSS) perspective, as well as a broader societal point of view. Health resources and quality of life (the youth version of the EuroQol five-dimension questionnaire (EQ-5D-Y)) data were collected, as part of the Forearm Recovery in Children Evaluation (FORCE) multicentre randomized controlled trial over a six-week period, using trial case report forms and patient-completed questionnaires. Costs and health gains (quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)) were estimated for the two trial treatment groups. Regression was used to estimate the probability of the new treatment being cost-effective at a range of 'willingness-to-pay' thresholds, which reflect a range of costs per QALY at which governments are typically prepared to reimburse for treatment. RESULTS: The offer of a soft bandage significantly reduced cost per patient (saving £12.55 (95% confidence interval (CI) -£5.30 to £19.80)) while QALYs were similar (QALY difference between groups: 0.0013 (95% CI -0.0004 to 0.003)). The high probability (95%) that offering a bandage is a cost-effective option was consistent when examining the data in a range of sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSION: In addition to the known clinical equivalence, this study found that the offer of a bandage reduced cost compared with rigid immobilization among children with a torus fracture of the distal radius. While the cost saving was small for each patient, the high frequency of these injuries indicates a significant saving across the healthcare system.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone Joint J

Publication Date





623 - 630


Humans, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Child, Radius Fractures, Adolescent, Female, Male, Child, Preschool, Patient Discharge, Bandages, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, United Kingdom, Immobilization, Fracture Fixation, Quality of Life, Cost-Effectiveness Analysis